How 5G Could Kill Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst

Summary Bullets:
• DAS will face steep hurdles in evolving to the 5G era.

• Vendors of distributed small-cell enterprise RAN solutions, once content to aim down-market from DAS, are increasingly aimed at competing with DAS head-on, exploiting DAS’s 5G vulnerabilities.

• However, any threat posed to DAS by 5G is likely to take years to have effect, increasing the long-term uncertainty surrounding these trends.

5G — in its early implementations, at least, aimed at mobile broadband, rather than the Internet of Things (IoT) — will be more evolution than revolution, boosting speeds that were already increasing steadily via advances in LTE technology. But in at least one respect, even 5G mobile broadband promises to do something truly disruptive: It could mean the demise of DAS.

That’s no small matter. Some estimates put the global DAS market well north of $6 billion annually. Walk into any stadium, hospital, shopping mall, or big-box store and make a mobile call; odds are you’re using a DAS, a carrier-neutral network that distributes the signals of multiple operators using shared antennas and other gear so that each operator doesn’t need its own separate in-building network. Continue reading “How 5G Could Kill Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)”